Booklist (Maggie Reagan)
If there’s one fear that gets instilled in us early, it’s of spiders. But even though the An Eye on Spiders series picks some of the most feared arachnids to introduce (tarantulas, anyone?), it sticks to basic biological facts and avoids any outright frightening features. The female star of Black Widowsis notable for the venom she injects into her prey, her aggressive mating habits (where her name comes from), and her black-and-red markings—her poor male counterpart is a drab brown. By contrast, the arachnid pictured in Jumping Spiders is downright adorable; this little spider jumps long distances instead of spinning a web and keeps its eggs protected in silk. The dreaded subject of Tarantulas comes in 900 hairy species, some in bright, fascinating colors like blue and pink. Clever hunting habits are on display in Trapdoor Spiders; in an impressive feat of animal engineering, this spider digs a hole, adds a door, makes a hinge with silk, and waits for prey to walk by. Photo-illustrated and with simple, repetitive text, these volumes contain tools to support emergin readers. An image glossary for in-text vocab words and habitat map help readers contextualize, while a parent-and-teacher section at the start will assist in guided reading. These books are bold introductioins to species variation and early language comprehension.